Wearing masks even when you’re outside “[is] necessary in this day and age we’re living in especially in those places where people are gonna be congregating,” said Karen Brown, who is visiting Tampa.
That’s the new expectation in certain parts of Tampa for the next two weeks.
“There isn’t a person left on Earth that doesn’t understand the easiest way to avoid contracting or transmitting COVID-19 is by simply wearing a mask,” she said.
Even still, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has signed an executive order requiring the use of face coverings outdoors within Event Zones and Entertainment Districts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for Super Bowl-related activities.
Executive Order 2021-07 will target sites where large crowds of people are likely to congregate around the Super Bowl with limited ability to remain socially distant from each other.
“We are incredibly excited to host a fun and safe Super Bowl here in Tampa — but we need everyone to do their part. We want fans to feel confident knowing that when they come out to celebrate Super Bowl LV, they can do so safely in a city that takes this pandemic seriously,” Castor said. “In football terms, it’s simple — masks are the right defense. Don’t let COVID-19 intercept your ability to make unforgettable memories or keep your loved ones safe. We are grateful to the NFL and the Host Committee for being amazing partners and going above and beyond to implement strict COVID-19 safety precautions. Now, we need everyone to take personal responsibility to keep themselves, others fans, and our Tampa Bay community safe.”
The “Event Zones” impacted by Executive Order 2021-07 include areas of Downtown Tampa and the area surrounding Raymond James Stadium, pictured above during regular season play last fall.
“Entertainment Districts” include the Ybor City Historic District, the South Howard Commercial Overlay District, the Central Business District and the Channel District, as those areas are defined in City of Tampa Code Chapter 27.
“We’re going to have volunteers throughout each of these areas, they will be providing masks to those that don’t have them and clearly communicating the need and the importance of wearing a mask,” said Castor.
Exceptions to the order include:
- Children under 5 years of age
- Persons (including their family members or companions) when outdoors at their personal residence, provided they comply with CDC guidance
- Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of the business or profession
- Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
- A person communicating with a hearing-impaired individual who needs to see that person’s mouth in order to communicate.
This Executive Order became effective on January 28 and will remain in effect in the City of Tampa until February 13 unless otherwise modified, repealed or earlier terminated.
When asked what happens to someone who refuses to wear a mask — the city told us it will depend on facts and circumstances. When we pressed further, the city wouldn’t elaborate on what penalties someone could face.
“If it comes down to enforcement and people who just flat out refuse in densely populated areas then enforcement action will be taken,” Castor said.
“I would hope that it would be enforceable just because otherwise what good is it?” said Brown.
In addition, Executive Order 2020-42 (which was adopted on August 19, 2020) remains in effect, requiring the use of face coverings at most indoor locations.
For more COVID-19 information, health and safety tips, FAQs, executive orders, and more, click here.
To see the NFL’s Super Bowl Experience Health Playbook, click here.
By Dan Trujillo and Heather Leigh, WFTS.